Variety of Barbados

The physical and social challenges for children living with special needs and their families are embodied by Justina’s story.

Diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy at just age 10, Justina was granted a specialized hospital bed and air mattress so she could adjust her head and feet and her mother could more easily change her position to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers and reflux. With the bed’s adjustable height, Justina’s mother can provide for a range of daily passive movements of her limbs without injuring her back from Justina’s weight.

Justina will never be able to care for herself independently and the special bed helps Justina’s mother remain healthy and strong for the imperative long term care of her daughter.

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Children who face mobility and other physical challenges like Justina are provided therapy by the A.C. Graeme Development Centre, but there is never enough budget to reach all children needing this support. On a monthly basis Variety of Barbados grants the salaries of one or more physiotherapists who make such a difference to the children. One such person is Justina’s therapist, Melissa Walcott-Pusey, whose above and beyond services to children in Barbados could never be adequately compensated. Variety of Barbados has also funded specialised training for Melissa and other therapists to help maintain a high standard of care.

For Justina and children like her, the support of Variety of Barbados goes further by offering transportation on our Variety Sunshine Coach to our movie outing, and holding Gold Heart and Christmas parties. All to ensure that not only Justina’s physical needs are met but also to offer her the enjoyment of social interaction.

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